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news release

NYSEG AND RG&E CREWS MAKING REPAIRS WHILE CONTINUING TO ASSESS STORM DAMAGE 

>> NYSEG and RG&E urge customers to stay far away from downed power lines. Even lines that appear dead can be deadly. NYSEG customers should call 1.800.572.1131 to report downed power lines or hazardous situations; RG&E customers should call 1.800.743.1701.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rochester, NY, February 12, 2009 (11 a.m.) – Severe winds, the result of a strong cold front that’s sweeping across the state, have caused widespread damage to NYSEG’s and RG&E’s electricity delivery system, leaving approximately 40,000 NYSEG and RG&E customers without power.

NYSEG’s Western New York service area in Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Niagara and Wyoming counties, where 27,000 customers are without power, has been hardest hit thus far. The remainder of the power interruptions are scattered across the NYSEG and RG&E service areas.

With high winds expected to continue across the state until as late as tonight, NYSEG and RG&E are expecting additional power interruptions.

While NYSEG and RG&E crews are responding to downed wires incidents to make them safe and have begun making repairs, the companies are continuing to assess damage.

“A thorough assessment of damage is essential to being able to restore power to our customers as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Mike Conroy, vice president - operations at NYSEG and RG&E. 

Here are some tips for weathering the storm:
During a power interruption

  • Contact neighbors to see if their power is off. A loss of power may be the result of a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
  • Contact NYSEG (1.800.572.1131) or RG&E (1.800.743.1701) to report a power interruption. Our telephone system lets callers report the problem, helps our crews respond quickly and efficiently, and provides customers with power interruption updates. Because many people may be trying to reach us during a power interruption, phone lines may be busy. Anyone who has access to a working computer during a power interruption can also report the interruption online at nyseg.com or rge.com.
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio for weather and power restoration updates.
  • Turn off major appliances (electric water heaters, refrigerators and freezers) and sensitive electronic equipment (TVs, VCRs, DVD players, computers, stereos) to prevent overloading and possible damage when power is restored. Turning off this equipment may mean unplugging it, turning off a circuit breaker or removing a fuse for the circuit that provides power to this equipment. Leave one light switch “on” to know when power has been restored.
  • Emergency generators can be dangerous. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Never run an emergency generator indoors; operate generators only outdoors in well-ventilated areas.
  • Don’t use a natural gas or propane range to heat your home.
  • Never use outdoor grills or stoves inside.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. Most food will last 24 hours if you minimize the opening of refrigerator and freezer doors.

After your power is restored

  • If a basement or home was flooded, customers should have an electrician check the home and have a plumbing and heating contractor check natural gas appliances before contacting NYSEG to have services turned on.
  • Turn on appliances and sensitive electronic equipment one at a time to avoid overloading circuits.
  • Replenish emergency supplies used during the storm.